There’s an old tale of this Scottish man who, tired with his family, said that he was nipping out to buy some cigarettes. He never came back. Not sure it’s true but many people have related to the notion, over the years.
I’ve often wondered how people leave home on a mission for a longish period of time, how they cope with it. Do they feel any regrets about leaving home for a while..? Even if their trek is serious, or important to them, or just some fun thing to do, I wonder if they realize the consequences.
As usual I ramble. But the point is that as we have got older, do we ever think about going on some life-long ambition for a while. Do we have some burning desire to do something totally radical, time-consuming, and perhaps even dangerous..?
I don’t mean going a month-long cruise instead of your usual 10 days. I don’t mean slumming it in the bush on a safari instead of staying in some plush hotel “near” the bush. No, I mean, going off on some adventure alone or with other nutcases. Remember the movie, “City Slickers”..? That kind of thing.
What must it have been like in the wild west of America in the 1800s..?
“Are you in for dinner tonight, dear.?’
“No sweetheart, I’m going out for a walk.”
“Oh ok dear, what time will you be back..?
“Next spring dear, I’m going along the Santa Fe Trail…!!”
Keep in mind, those were the days when Facebook hadn’t been invented, neither had telephones, or fax machines, or even newspapers. The idea that you could be away for months, with zero contact with the folks back home was not an unusual occurrence. By the time you got back any number of things could have happened. “Our Susie met this fella, got married and has two kids, dear.”
Stay with me here, I’ll make a point soon, I promise.
“Where are you off to now Ferdinand.?”, said Mrs. Magellan.
“I’m going to discover the Philippines.”
That was 1521 and the bold lad set sail. He wouldn’t be back for dinner that night.
The world has been full of pioneers, crusaders, adventurers, nutcases, etc. Always has been, always will be.
Why do they do it..? Mid-life crisis probably.
So, here’s the point (at last you say).
As we enter the retirement years, there are probably all sorts of crazy ideas we have, about what we want to do with all this new-found spare time. Play more golf, travel more, spend more time with the family and so forth. But there are many people who really make a big effort to do something quite radical.
I’ve often fancied renting a small apartment in one of Europe’s oldest cities (Paris, Rome, Vienna, maybe), near an old library with thousands of really old books and manuscripts. Then finding some bizarre topic that no-one has ever thought about before, from say the Middle Ages, and starting to research it and getting totally immersed in the task – working long hours, during the day, at night, who cares. Maybe I’ll shave, maybe not. I may sleep. I will eat though, (Micky D was open 24 hours a day in the Middle Ages, so no probs – still open).
But the really big question would be whether I could leave my laptop at home before I left (I’d scribble notes on parchment paper with an ink quill – yes, I WOULD !!). If I had no laptop and no Blackberry and couldn’t access Facebook, and no phone in the apartment, and didn’t buy newspapers (foreign language anyway), how would I know what was going on in the world, or in the family..? (I would need to know the football scores though !!!!).
It’s a big decision.
And frankly, only one that an old nutcase would even ever contemplate.
“Yes dear, I WILL be home for dinner tonight after all”.
By Bill Storie